I have been doing stand up comedy for several years now. I am still not to the point where it's a full time job yet. However, I now get paid gigs pretty regularly now, and the extra income does come in handy. If you're considering being a stand up comedian, just starting out doing comedy, or want to increase the amount of paid work you get, this article is for you. Here are some of the most important things you can do:
1. Don't steal jokes
It's amazing how many "comedians" steal jokes from other comedians. Don't do it!!! I've seen a lot of idiots tell famous comedians' jokes and pass it off as their own. Believe it or not, a lot of us know Rodney Dangerfield's material. Even worse, I've seen performers steal jokes from other comedians that perform in the same geographical area. This is totally stupid. Stealing jokes is a surefire way for you to never get invited to do paid gigs. Write your own stuff!!!
2. Write some clean jokes
I love to perform dirty jokes, and I love watching comedians that curse and tell jokes about sex. If you want to do the same thing, that's totally cool. However, consider writing a set that you can do for churches, corporate functions, and all ages shows. This will greatly increase the opportunities that you have.
3. Network Network Network!
Virtually all of my paid gigs have been offered to me either through friends, or friends of friends. Perform at as many open mics and shows as you possibly can. If you get invited to a party by a fellow comedian, go! Don't talk smack about other comedians and be friendly with everybody!
4. Have business cards and a website
Spend some cash and get yourself some quality business cards, and your own website. I have both. When I say a website, I am not talking about your MySpace account. Spend 10 frickkin bucks and buy your own domain!!! Also, have an email account that's associated with your website. John@johngriggscomedy.com looks a hell of a lot better than Iamadumbasswhoistoocheaptoinvestinmyself@gmail.com.